Thomas Friedman's obscenely transparent attempt to sell books with yet another rant against "Detroit" has pushed us to ask our own Friedman Thomas to respond with a Mad Lib rant of his own.
By FRIEDMAN L. THOMAS
Published: December 11, 2008
As I think about our bailing out New York, I can’t help but reflect on what, in my view, is the most important rule of markets in today’s integrated and digitized global market, where knowledge and innovation tools are so widely distributed. It’s this: Whatever can be sold in markets, will be sold in markets. The only question is will it be sold by you or sold to you. Just don’t think it won’t be sold. If you have an innovative market derivative in New York or Tennessee, promise me that you’ll market it, because someone in Nigeria or Somalia will do so a second later.
Why do I bring this up? Because someone in the money business in Nigeria and Somalia is already developing a real-world alternative to New York's business model. I don’t know if this alternative to lackadaisically regulated markets will work, but I do know that it can be done — and New York isn’t doing it. And therefore it will be done, and eventually, I bet, it will be done profitably.
And when it is, our bailout of New York will be remembered as the equivalent of pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the acetaminophen business on the eve of the birth of HeadOn. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into the fishing rod business on the eve of the birth of the Ron Popeil Pocket Fisherman. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into copy machine manufacturers on the eve of the birth of the scanner. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into long-term real estate purchases on the eve of the birth of the mortgage-backed derivative.
What business model am I talking about? It is Prince Mfume's plan to turn $5,000 into millions for those are willing to act quickly and transfer his father's frozen funds to the United States. Just last week, Prince Mfume announced by email a partnership with me to road test his business plan there after already inking similar deals with my elderly grandmother, members of her bridge team, and three homemakers in Hoboken.
The Prince's plan involves using your private investment as much advance fees to pay various taxes, attorney fees, transaction fees or bribes into clearing his father's good name and unfreezing his considerable seized assets then feeding those dollars into a new economy of trust and honor. The whole system is then coordinated by the Prince's brother, that integrates and does all the billing so investors are rewarded handsomely.
Under the Prince model, partners can either send money directly through trusted channels or send the Prince your personal banking information, where he and his economic advisers will use them to collect the funds by wire. That way the Prince, or any of his partners, benefits from your trust and good will and you will be rewarded handsomely. Wall Street sells mortgage-backed derivatives needing hundreds of billions of dollars of cash granted to them. Prince Mfume sells investments guaranteed by the Prince's adopted nation of Nigeria and blessed by God.
The first checks from the Royal Bank of Central Somalia are scheduled to hit my bank account in 2011, when the whole sum of seized monies should be freed and collected. On Tuesday, the Boca Raton Sewing, Travel, Bridge and Investment Club invited Prince Mfume to join the first alternative investment strategy project along with clubs from Fort Lauderdale, Miami Beach, and Clearwater. Prince Mfume was the only foreign national invited to participate, working with Florida’s leading investment clubs, to build a collective investment fund for banks in Mogadishu, the New York of Somalia.
What I find exciting about Prince Mfume is that it is building an investment concept off the new thinking of the 21st century, not the one from the 20th — the exact same way that Carlos the Jackel did to overturn the narcotics business. What did Carlos understand first? One, that today’s distribution networks would allow anyone with bribe money to sell narco. Two, that secondary sellers and cutting substances would allow anyone to transfer product to anyone else. You wouldn’t need pure product or cartel access anymore. The Jackel simply took all those innovations and integrated them into a single processing, purchasing and distribution system that completely disrupted the narco business.
What Mfume, the founder of Prince's Monetary Export, is saying is that there is a new way to become wealthy, not just live comfortably, using the same currency. It just takes the right kind of investment vehicle — the narcotics in this story — and the right kind of investment product — the distribution network — to make the business model work for everyone without the savings and the responsibility to invest into stocks, bond and commodities markets to speculate on home prices. The average American is paying $7 a Scott trade for worthless mortgage backed derivatives, which also adds to the encouragement of under-regulated markets and strengthens robber baron bank accounts.
Do not expect this innovation to come out of New York. Remember, in 1997, the Ford Motor Company Employees Credit Union got better rates on savings — by around $0.03 — than many New York-based banks in 2008. But don’t be surprised when the next better mortgage-backed derivative comes out of somewhere else. It can be done. It will be done. If we miss the chance to win the race for Mortgage Boom-and-Bust 2.0 because we keep mindlessly bailing out financial institutions who made the nation broke in Mortgage Boom-and-Bust 1.0, there will be no one to blame more than New York’s new shareholders: we the taxpayers.
Read the original breathtakingly uninformed Op-Ed here at the New York Times website. Then try your own below!